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“Technology of production” drives the need for more in-house lawyers

A short piece in the Wilson Quarterly, Vol, 30, Spring 2006 at 84, summarizes an article by Jonathan Gershuny in Social Research, Summer 2005. Gershuny’s major premise is that the privileged classes – the likes of lawyers and doctors and investment bankers – now work longer hours than the less privileged, a complete reversal from the late 19th and early 20th century’s dolce far niente of the wealthy.

It was another point, however, that glowed on the page. “Innovations in the technology of production have led to enormous increases in the volume of professional and technical work.” I think Gershuny means that our vast productivity creates more legal work, a point which seems obvious when you think about the many more deals we make, the more global the trade, the wider the sources of raw materials and assembly, the complexity of the goods and services, and the more partners trading, yet it portends a continuing secular trend in favor of demand for more lawyers (But see my post of May 4, 2005 on lawyers per billion of revenue declining with company size.).